Monday 15 August
Chelsea reserves 3:2 Sunderland reserves
Good start for Dermot Drummy’s reserve side, well, they could have done without falling behind when, after 20 minutes of quiet back and forth, we were opened up from the left flank by Jordan Cook and Oumare Tounkara headed in from close range.
Adam Phillip levelled ten minutes later after good work from Billy Clifford and Patrick Van Aanholt gave us a lead before the break, belting in a chance from the influential Kaby’s pass.
They levelled after another cross, this time from the right as their substitutes combined minutes after coming on.
Milan Lalkovic secured the win from a Jacob Mellis pass. Dermot was pretty upbeat at the end, moaning that we had given them too much space and conceded soft goals but he still looked chuffed with his first match.
Ah, Brendan Rodgers’s Swansea City looked polished and great on the ball at Eastlands only to finally slump 4-0 at Manchester City.
Tuesday 16 August
As first contact is made with the abductors of his father, John Obi Mikel is going to stay in London because, he says, he doesn’t want to let the team down. Reports have been coming in of the Nigerian Police’s search for the midfielder’s father, one of the calls allowed them to find the car Michael Obi had driven to work on Friday but still no ransom demand.
Arsenal scraped through their first-leg against Udinese 1-0 thanks to an early Walcott goal.
Wednesday 17 August
Romelu Lukaku is a Chelsea player at last after completing the formalities of his move from Anderlecht. Few prodigies come with a bigger billing or a bigger build that Lukaku whose father played professionally and now represents his son. That may explain why so many people comment on how mature Romelu has been since bursting into Belgian football at 16 and becoming the top scorer in his first season as Anderlecht stormed to the title. He is a real prospect.
Ben Gordon has left to play for Peterborough in the championship for the next six-months. The young left-back has only just returned from the U20 World Cup in Columbia.
Thursday 18 August
A ransom demand has been received for about £80,000 but few other details are known.
In his press conference AVB reiterated his support for John and revealed that Petr Cech has suffered a knee ligament problem in training and will miss the best part of a month.
Gaël Kakuta’s France U20 are heading home from Columbia after semi-final defeat by Portugal.
Milan Lalkovic meanwhile will join Doncaster Rovers for a month as the Yorkshire club look for their first points of the season at Derby County.
Saturday 20 August
Chelsea 2:1 West Bromwich Albion
The real worry around the ground was that nothing seems to have changed. A new manager, sure enough, but the same leaden first-half performance, slow passing, few chances, no vim.
AVB wasn’t slow to do something about it, taking off Kalou for Malouda after only half an hour but the somnambulistic start got everyone uptight and worried.
Alex was the catalyst for their early goal, first Shane Long closed him down and then he failed to clear as the striker broke clear. Hilario, in for the injured Cech, was beaten at his near post. 0-1.
Villas-Boas said after the game that the subsequent angst had inhibited the team: “The public were anxious, the players were anxious … we suffered that anxiety in the first half and couldn’t express ourselves.” Which was an understatement, the Baggies could have made it 0-2 as Long again broke between Alex and Terry only to pull the ball back behind his strike partner. While Chelsea had nothing to show but a possible penalty when Ben Foster bundled over Anelka, but we don’t get given those these days.
The second-half took a while to ignite but Nicolas Anelka eventually took matters into his own hands and jinked into the box, while the defence was distracted by Frank Lampard’s tumble, to fire across Foster. 1-1.
There followed a series of bashed shots that Foster saved or were deflected before Didier Drogba, much to the relief of many, came on for Torres on the hour but he looks rusty as he first poked wide and then failed to connect with Ramires’ raking pass.
The jangled nerves were getting janglier (for give us, for we know not where that sentence was travelling) when Bosingwa decided to advertise his services to the Bundesliga by bursting down the right and firing in the kind of cross he is paid to deliver more often and Malouda side-footed the cross into the net. 2-1.
Bo Jangles was still at the forefront as Odemwingie drew a save from Hilario before the ball fell to the same striker from a late corner only for the Portuguese ’keeper to find the ball fired straight at him.
The team need a spark and a little more protection from referees, again today West Brom were allowed a physical edge that would not be granted them at Old Trafford, and a recognition from the men in black that we could well have been awarded four penalties in our first two games.
AVB celebrated with a clenched fist and will be as relieved as the rest of us that we won the points. Two draws at the start of the campaign would have had us looking up already.
Newcastle United youth 4:3 Chelsea youth
Behind early, in front by half time (Adam Nditi and an own goal), level again at 3-3 through the outrageously talented Reuben Loftus-Cheek only to slip to last minute defeat. Welcome to the academy Adi Viveash, if it is as exciting as this every week he’ll lose those last few strands.
News in the evening that Valencia have accepted a bid for Juan Manuel Mata and the boy will be on the staff in the next 48-hours. The sparkling young Spaniard has been on everyone’s wish-list this summer and it will be a cracking bit of business at around £23m. AVB is not hanging around, and Mata doesn’t either, although at 5’7” he’ll not be doing much work at corners.